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-   -   Ray's Quandary (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3973)

ray 10-15-2010 06:19 AM

Ray's Quandary
I started out in my first poly relationship (current) feeling totally unsure of the rules. Eventually, I felt like I understood what we were doing but now I feel just as uncertain as I did in the beginning. For those that don't know I'm an arm in a FMF vee with O (my SO) and his wife A. We've been taking things fairly slow due to it being my first relationship (ever) and the comfort levels of A. O has had multi-partner relationships but A hasn't. We've been dating about 4 months now and we hadn't included sex so as to respect A's boundaries but had been playing around a bit within the rules. The three of us hang out quite a bit and I know he hopes that I become their unicorn but she and I have yet to get to that point, if ever. I was feeling pretty good with what I was getting in terms of time, attention, "play time" and what not. Then, last week, O told me he felt like we needed to cool down things on the physical side indefinitely because he wasn't sure if he could trust himself to have the self-control to follow A's wishes. I certainly understood but I felt so crushed. I seriously considered ending it mainly because it was the first time I'd really felt how tenuous a secondary relationship can be. It kills me for him to erect this boundary. In order for it to change either she has to become ok with us doing whatever or he has to feel like he will be able to respect the rules that are in place. I really, really like him and am trying pretty damn hard to be okay with what he needs right now but I'm not sure if I like what this could bode for the future. I don't have a lot of people I can talk to about being poly. I've never dated anyone seriously before this and he's the first person I've ever kissed. I might be in over my head. Eek. :(

sage 10-15-2010 06:05 PM


You haven't actually said whether or not you believe you are poly? If not then this is one hell of a way to start out in relationships and I would definitely say you are in way over your head. Hitch up your skirt and head for them thar hills.

If you are poly then this is part and parcel of the dynamic and there is nothing at all preventing you from tucking this relationship away in a corner and seeking out other perhaps more satisfying ones.

ray 10-15-2010 08:30 PM

I am not actually sure whether or not I am poly. Given my lack of experience, it's difficult for sure to know what I really like or am. I've always had crushes on lots of people at one time and I was really enjoying the dynamic of the three of us. I remember wondering when I was little how I would ever get married because then I could only love one person. I may very well be poly. I come from a traditional evangelical christian background (initially) and getting to the point where I was even willing to consider it took awhile. I love how when things are going well I feel extra supported and cared for with the two of them. They have a relatively healthy relationship together which helps but she is new to all of this too and he was her first really serious boyfriend, she only dated one other person before she got with him. I also don't feel like I want to give up on this yet. I care very deeply about him and would love to make things work but sometimes I just don't know what I'm doing and since I don't get to talk to a lot of people about it, I get stuck up in my own head without other opinions to help me out. Maybe I'm a bit nuts for not wanting to run in the other direction. :o

ray 10-16-2010 02:37 AM

Hung out with O today, it always feels easier when I'm with him. I get all giddy and twitter-pated. I'm trying to remember that even though he's had to put in some boundaries, he still really cares and wants me around. Sometimes I wonder why he bothers trying to maintain our relationship. His life could be simpler if he didn't have to worry about me. Then again, I have a hard time fully trusting anyone when they say they really care, so that's more my issue. With this I can have a hard time because we're not out to any one we hang out with on a regular basis and so it's like the part time lover, full time friend. We can't treat each other like we're dating because we're keeping things under wraps and I can have a hard time with that. I just get so excited and bubbly and want to share and express how I feel about him in front of people. It was so hard at the beginning because it was my first real relationship and not being able to share that with most of my friends was like containing a nuclear blast. I was positively oozing NRE from every pore. It's calmed down a bit. :) I'm still nursing my wounds from his decision to cool things off on the physical end but I read something here that gave me a bit of a smile, something about sexual gratification being easy to find but true emotional connection being more valuable and rare. I think that's why I feel so unwilling to walk away. Ever since we first became friends, we just connected in a way that was special for me. And whether or not we end up making a romance work, I know we both hope to remain important in each other's lives.

vodkafan 10-16-2010 05:32 PM

Hi Ray I am guessing you are very young but you seem very switched on mentally and have a good grasp of your situation. Whatever happens, I get the feeling you are already mature enough to handle whatever happens and you are not going to get seriously hurt.
You sound very poly to me, I think this is natural for you.

ray 10-17-2010 12:34 AM

Thanks Vodkafan, I've been trying pretty hard to keep a level head. Not always easy for me, I'm pretty emotional.

Today, I finally figured out something that's been really bothering me in the relationship. I'd been feeling a bit dissatisfied as of late for a variety of reasons and wasn't sure if maybe the relationship just wasn't going to be able to give me enough (being secondary and all). And to make things a little more difficult, quality time is by far the most important thing to me terms of feeling really cared for and satisfied. Which, from what I've seen, is a challenge in any poly relationship structure to coordinate. love may not be limited, but time sure is. O and I had never really set up much structure in terms of figuring out hang out time. It would just happen or not. during the summer, I had obscene amounts of free time so it was really easy for all the stars to align. Then school coming back took away some of that and then I got a new job and we lost some more. On top of that he tends to be pretty last minute in terms of asking me if I'd like to hang out since I frequently spend Saturday afternoons/nights/Sunday mornings @ their house. For awhile I wasn't sure if I was just having unrealistic expectations about the amount of quality time we could spend together. Quality time for me being either time with him and I alone, or time with him and A and I. Time that we spend hanging out with people that we're not "out" with is fun but I also feel like it's missing something since we can't act like we're actually dating. Sorry this is getting long, I've needed to vent! Aaanyway, I realized that I don't necessarily need tons of time, I have a fairly simple list of changes that I think would go a long way.

1. I would appreciate knowing sooner than 5 mins before whether or not we're going to hang out on any given weekend.
2. If every week we could designate time (not necessarily the same time every week) where I know for sure, except in extreme circumstances that we will get some alone time.

If I know ahead of time what I'm getting then...

1. I get to look forward to it and get all excited, that's half the fun right there!
2. I don't get super disappointed when we don't get to hang out because I already know and I know when we're hanging out next so I'm looking forward to that instead of being sad.
3. I'm not constantly in state of anxiety wondering whether or not we're hanging out and do I need to bring certain clothes or my tooth brush and things like that.

Gosh, if we could do those things, I'm pretty certain I would feel 10x better at least.

Whew...Sometimes it just helps to babble about it. I'll have to talk to him tomorrow or the next day and hopefully we can figure something out.

vodkafan 10-17-2010 12:55 AM

Those things sound completely reasonable and should help all of you. Good luck!

ray 10-17-2010 11:36 PM

I feel a lot calmer and happier today. O and I will talk tomorrow morning and I feel pretty sure he'll be on board with my ideas and finding a way to make it happen. I think that since we've started dating, I haven't done a very good job of focusing much on other friendships. I've been incredibly busy with school and work so he's been the only one getting priority. This morning I went and hung out with some other people and it felt so good. I guess I rely too much on him for my socialization. I think that scheduling time will help that too because then I know if we don't have plans, I can make them with other people. And I got a new hat. I'm excited. It's an eeyore face with ears. I can't wait to be able to wear it.

ray 10-20-2010 07:57 PM

I wish I had learned earlier in life that it's so much easier when you just ask for what you want instead of waiting for some one to read your mind and do it. ;) That is one thing in particular that I have been learning from poly. Got to have some hang out time today. :) Nice long walk arm in arm. I'm not sure why I get so afraid to ask for what I want. Most people are more than willing to work with you, especially your SO. I guess forget that people usually want you to be happy. When I first started poly, coming from a traditional christian background, I felt so terrified that I was doing something horrible and evil and wrong. But whether or not that's true, I've learnt so much in regards to communication, forgiveness, and friendship/relationships. Being able to let things go, knowing that O didn't mean to forget this or that, being able to say what I want, being able to share. There's much left to figure out (always is) but I like who poly has been helping me to become.

sage 10-20-2010 11:05 PM

Well said (poly making us better people and learning to ask for what we want). I just worry for you because you are opening yourself up and there are very solid boundaries being imposed by your metamour.

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